A hacker who put the personal data of 164 million LinkedIn users up for sale also recently tried to sell the records of 360 million MySpace users. We all heard about how a cybersecurity breach played out for AshleyMadison.com, and reports indicate that a security flaw compromising personal data of 191 million US voters is still in the process of being addressed. Cybersecurity threats are a part of the digital landscape today — and now, so are managed security services.
But there’s a new target that hackers and cybercriminals have been zeroing in on in the past few years, and it may surprise you to learn this: that new target is you. While historically large corporations and big names have borne the brunt of digital attacks and security breaches, simply because they offered the biggest payoff, attacks to small- and medium-sized businesses have been increasing exponentially. Why? The payoff might not be as big, but neither is the challenge. Hackers targeting SMBs instead of mega corporations is the equivalent of thieves knocking over convenience stores instead of orchestrating a casino heist as in “Ocean’s Eleven”.
So what can you do? Keeping data and systems offline in the name of security is out of the question — your audience and your team are online, and you need to be there, too. You just need to play it safe. Here are the top four ways to protect your online systems and data from cybercrime and security breaches.
Train Your Team
The number one cause of security breaches in business is not unbeatable viruses or elite hackers — it’s internal staff. That’s not to say that your team is colluding with criminals to take you down from the inside; rather, they are simply the instruments of human error. But you can put steps in place to achieve managed security for small business when you:
- Put password and security policies in place — and make sure your employees know, understand, and use them.
- Train your team to recognize a scam — whether it be a suspicious email that arrives in the company inbox or an online offer that’s just too good to be true.
- Make sure you’ve got oversight — partner with a managed security services provider who offers real-time security event monitoring so you’ll see who’s logging in — or trying to.
Secure Your Servers to Manage Security for a Small Business
Have you been putting off committing to the Cloud because of security concerns? Do you feel that keeping systems on-premise is the safest option? The idea that you can better protect your servers, just because you can see them, is antiquated at best and dangerous at worst. Particularly if you are handling sensitive or proprietary data, you can’t beat the compliance and security you’ll get from the data center of a trusted professional. Your managed hosting partner doesn’t have to be bigger to be better — it has to keep your data secure from threats and available to you. A Cloud hosting provider or Managed Service Provider who can’t keep your data safe and where you want it won’t be in business long, so they’ve got a lot of motivation to invest in security. To make sure your servers are secure:
- Find a hosting partner you can trust to secure your data from both digital and physical access
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure you’re protected — what safeguards to they have in place? Do they offer data encryption? Can they lock down servers in the event of a breach?
Don’t Let Down Your Guard
No matter what safeguards you’ve implemented, vigilance is key. Hackers and criminals are always working on new ways to bypass the latest systems, and you must be proactive to fight them. Whether you’ve charged your IT staff with holding down the fort, have a dedicated security professional on your team, or have outsourced the headaches to a managed hosting provider who offers managed security services, someone always needs to be watching. Regardless of which alternative you choose for your managed security services, make sure it entails:
- Regular patching and updating of all software, antivirus programs, and firewalls. Ensuring you’re up-to-date mitigates the chance you’ll be exposed by a vulnerability you didn’t get around to patching.
- Monitoring systems 24/7/365. Cyberthreats don’t take holidays.
- Implementing a reporting system so you can regularly review system status, access attempts, and incidents for warning signs or suspicious activity.
Prepare for the Worst
Remember the adage “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail?” Even if you’ve done everything in your power to protect your company from online threats, you need to be prepared for the possibility that you’ll still have to face a breach. One in five SMBs is victim to cybercrime each year, and an alarming 60% of those businesses fold within six months of the attack.
Those numbers are horrendous. They make it sound like, no matter how prepared you are, you’re still running a fairly high risk of going out of business because of a security breach or malicious attack. But that’s not true. Most often, the businesses that don’t survive a cyberattack are the ones who weren’t prepared; that doesn’t have to be you. Prepare for the worst to manage your security:
- Ensure you have offsite backups and redundancies in place — you’ll have valuable protection in the case of an online attack, server failure, or natural disaster.
- Create a disaster recovery plan. When things go wrong, what steps will you need to take to get your business back up and running? Who will do what, and how long will it take?
- Don’t go it alone — park your backups and redundancies with a managed hosting provider who can help you prepare for any circumstance — and who will be there for you, come what may.
A Managed Security Services Partner for Your Small Business
At PointClick Technologies, we take pride in working collaboratively with our clients to architect and implement Cloud hosting and security solutions to fit their needs. We are a certified Tier One Microsoft CSP, and can help you manage your migration to Azure or the Private Cloud, and provide support for as long as you need us. Concerned about the security of your systems? Get in touch with us today — we’re here to help.